An Examination of the Higher Education Curriculum for Meeting Labor Market Demands of 21st Century Skills in Students: A Case Study of a University in Dubai, UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Under the UAE National Agenda and Vision 2021, providing high quality education to all is a priority. Higher Education plays a major role in developing human capital and contributing to the economic development of the country. This research, therefore, aimed to evaluate the if the higher education curriculums are adequate for meeting labor market demands and economic development of the country. More specifically, the research aimed to assess if higher education were teaching 21st Century Skills to students sufficiently and to propose policy and procedure changes that can help develop 21st century skills in students graduating. The research was conducted at the British University of Dubai, and used a mixed methodology involving survey of 221 students and Interviews of 10 teachers. The research findings support that in the students' perceptions, they were indeed learning 21st Century skills well. Similarly, it was also found that the teachers were making an effort at their level to teach these skills at their own discretion and in an ad hoc manner. However, it was noted that the curriculum did not embed the teaching of 21st Century Skills and there were no standardized protocols or procedures available to teachers to follow for teaching them. The research therefore suggests policy changes and also re-designing of curriculums and teachers' training.
higher education, 21st century skills, curriculum, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Vision 2021, economic development